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Why are sexually transmitted infections on the rise?

STI cases have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic when many countries reported low coverage for preventive, testing, and treatment services as they focused on the pandemic.

One afternoon, after waiting for over three hours to get treatment, patients with sexually transmitted infections are turned away from Kochilira Rural Hospital in Mchinji district in central Malawi because the institution is out of antibiotics used to treat STIs.

One of the patients, Maria Thole, said she traveled for four kilometers (2.5 miles) to reach the facility and was visibly disappointed about being turned away without medication.

The medical officer at the clinic, Psyela Kaunda, said drug shortages have increased over the last few years, and at times the hospital lacks essential drugs including those used to treat STIs. Incidentally, this is the time Malawi and other countries experienced the burden of COVID-19 cases. She added that even when the medicines arrive, they only last for some weeks or a month due to the high demand for the therapy.



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